Coleridge expresses many thoughtful and rather intense ideas in his poetry, through
using either peculiar or common images of all forms of nature ie human,
environmental or supernatural. His poetic expression is unique in its use of
extraordinary imagery and transition of mood yet he what he creates usually
conforms to numerous literary techniques. The recurring theme in many of his poems
is that of man's harmony with nature, and this idea, combined with his bizarre and
even eccentric poetic expression provides a basis for both 'The Rime of the Ancient
Mariner' and 'Kubla Khan'.
Mankind, firstly, is explored in both poems by placing the human nature in situations
where perhaps instinct acts before reason. In RAM, the ancient mariner kills the
albatross not for need or in distress, or for any reason that mariner can deduce the
result. He has unknowingly taken on a huge burden, and the quest begins to extract
all the rash impulsiveness of mankind.
The mariner now must search for moral,
spiritual and internal rationality, and this goal is expressed in the poem as a type of
blessing or relief which he must earn. In 'Kubla Khan', Coleridge expresses man's
social instinct to conform and belong to a group. This also relates to the creation of
rituals and rules by the human-being and the obeying of the cycle of life to death,
again and again. The running theme of freedom and release for man is emphasised in
both poems, escaping from criticism, in the case of KK, and from blame and regret,
in RAM. They both explore the tendency to be impulsive for reasons accumulated
through the traits of human and social instinct, in contrast to that obtained naturally.
An example of this purely natural expression is that of...